What It Means to Be Human: Obedience

David Bast

Read: Mark 12:28-34

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. (Heb. 5:8)

Many people think that personal freedom is the goal of life—the freedom to do whatever they want to. For Jesus, obeying God was the most important thing, more important even than life itself. Once when his disciples urged Jesus to have something to eat, he replied that he had his own private source of food. What’s this, they wondered, has someone been secretly feeding Jesus? No, he said, you misunderstand me. “My food is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34). If Jesus is the best model of what it means to be human, then the secret of a life well-lived is obedience to the will of God.

Contrary to popular opinion, the key to being authentically human is not having the freedom to “follow your dreams.” Our ultimate identity can only be discovered in a relationship with the God who made us. Our true humanity is found in knowing and doing God’s will. Here’s one of life’s paradoxes. You rarely find happiness by pursuing it as your goal. Happiness usually comes as a by-product of living for something more important than yourself. Similarly, if you decide to make up your own rules and obey only your own feelings, you become less free, not more. We only find real freedom by submitting to the will of God. And what is that? Simple, says Jesus. Love God with all you have, and love your neighbor, too. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, your service is perfect freedom.